As a devout pedestrian, I spend a lot of my time walking about, and I like listening to music when I do so. At home I tend to listen to CDs or the radio, but I also like listening to music on Spotify, which I tend to utilise on my iPhone when I’m out and about. There are many eclectic mixes on my Spotify profile, but my favourite at the moment is a playlist I made called “Shivery Beats”, which consists mainly of calm and thoughtful tunes that make perfect listening when the sky is dark and the air is cold from 4pm onwards. I’ll be listening to these all season; it’s been tough narrowing it down, but here are my top ten tracks for those lovely winter wanders.
If you have Spotify installed on your computer, you can listen to all of the songs mentioned in this post on the player below. In case you don’t have Spotify, I’ve also linked each song to a corresponding YouTube video file.
10. “Fox In The Snow”, Belle & Sebastian (If You’re Feeling Sinister, 1996) – This is a cute, mellow little song that reminds me of last winter, the first winter my boyfriend and I spent as a couple, which reminds me of happy times holding hands with gloves on. It’s a simple tune but an absolutely nice one: ’nuff said.
9. “Everything, All At Once”, Correatown (Pleiades, 2012) – Gentle, relaxing, lovely. This lilting song from US band Correatown, led by Angela Correa, evokes that calm, quiet winter feeling. There’s something so pleasant about the lead singer’s annunciation of words and this song is my favourite from a great album.
8. “Winter”, Daughter (If You Leave, 2013) – When I bought this new album in the summer I listened to it and thought, prophetically, this will be great in the wintertime. It’s just wriggled back into my everyday CD rotation and when I’m out and about this is the aptly named tune I’ve found myself listening to repeatedly. Like many of the tunes in this list, it has that funny element of making you feel simultaneously cold and warm. At the height of winter, when it is so dark and peaceful that walking along I feel like the only person in the street, I reckon this will be just perfect.
7. “The Staunton Lick”, Lemon Jelly (Lemon Jelly.ky, 2000) – If this jaunty instrumental wasn’t on the soundtrack on one of my favourite TV shows of all time, “Spaced”, I don’t know if I’d love it as much as I do. Not a particularly wintery one per say, but I love walking to this at any time of the year. On the days I most can’t be bothered I stick this on my Spotify and I’ve helplessly got a bounce in my step by the end of the street. It’s just…delightful.
6. “Spanish Sahara”, Foals (Total Life Forever, 2010) – You might not think a song called “Spanish Sahara” would make a good winter tune, but believe me, it does. This band came onto my radar via BBC 6 Music around three winters ago, and whilst not all of their material is particularly my cup of tea I always turn to this as soon as the weather gets colder. I love the stillness throughout the song that crescendos right up to something a bit unexpected. One of my favourites.
5. “London”, She & Him (Volume 3, 2013) – This makes me feel that dark, wintery coldness even when I’m sitting in an overly heated flat. Zooey Deschanel’s voice has such a gorgeous tone to it that is comforting in the colder weather, and although many of She & Him’s songs are sugary sweet, this one is lovely for my many danders, even though I don’t live anywhere near London. I especially love the line about keeping your coat on from September to May, which is not too much of an overstatement! I always dig out She & Him’s Christmas album as soon as December hits and it’s a struggle not to do so before. Also, if you haven’t heard Zooey Deschanel sing The Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”, then do so now.
4. “Love Is Like A Bottle Of Gin”, The Magnetic Fields (69 Love Songs, 2004) – One of my favourite songs full stop, and comes into its own at winter. Such a simple song, there’s nothing like the crack of snow under your boots to accompany this song, which is all about its clever and ambiguous lyrics. Depending on your mood you’ll see it as romantic or depressing; either way, I adore it. The final line, “Love is like a bottle of gin, / But a bottle of gin is not like love” is one of my favourite song lyrics of all time.
3. “Bring Me A Boat”, Kate Rusby (20, 2012, first appeared on her 2003 album Underneath The Stars) – “Ambling in a park with your coat up to your neck” spoke my unusually poetic boyfriend when I asked him what he thought of this as a winter walking tune, and I think that’s pretty apt. I love Kate Rusby, especially in the winter; her music and lyrics are warm and comforting, and as Christmas draws nearer I love her albums of classic carol covers. The Irish vocalist, Declan O’Rourke, who features on this track, has such a lovely voice, too.
2. “Jubilee Street”, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (Push The Sky Away, 2013) – If you held a gun to my head and asked me what my favourite band was, I’d say Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. I love everything Nick Cave does, from his soundtracks to his film-writing, and this latest album from the Bad Seeds is brilliant. It’s surprising the album came out in February, since it seems like it’s made for those colder months, and it’s been on near-constant repeat in our flat as soon as October rolled around. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. It’s characteristically bleak, but its emphatic strings and steady beat make it perfect for cold weather walking with a purpose, which helps when you study in a small town overrun by students with abysmal spacial awareness. I love everything about this song.
1. “John Taylor’s Month Away”, King Creosote & Jon Hopkins (Diamond Mine, 2011) – It was a close call between this and “Jubilee Street”, but this has cinched it slightly, partly because the whole album, “Diamond Mine”, a studio collaboration between Scottish singer-songwriter Kenny Anderson (King Creosote) and English electronica musician Jon Hopkins, is just Scottish winter on an disc. Every song is beautiful, and I can’t wait to be balancing on the ice and trudging through slushy snow listening to it.
So there you have it: I hope you like my taste in wintery tunes. Coming soon will be my Top 10 Christmas Tunes and Top 10 Cooking Tunes (not necessarily in that order). Are there any other Top 10 playlists you’d like to see? And more importantly, tell me your favourite wintery walking tunes!